University of Texas at Dallas Center for Vital Longevity
Park Aging Mind Laboratory

Research Focus

Denise Park, Ph.D. focuses her research program on understanding how the mind changes and adapts as we age. She is interested not only in the function of the mind and brain, but in determining whether active engagement can maintain the health of the aging brain. She is also focusing on isolating a "neural signature" of middle-aged adults who will age with vitality versus those who are at greater risk of less adaptive cognitive aging. Recently, the lab has incorporated amyloid imaging into its research, with the goal of being able to detect healthy older adults who may be at risk for Alzheimer's disease.

The Park Lab has two primary research aims. First, to develop a strong, scientific understanding of the fundamental neurocognitive changes that occur as a result of the aging process. Second, to translate this understanding into research designed to promote neurocognitive health throughout adulthood. Our research team accomplishes these aims within the framework of several large-scale research programs.


Research Projects

The Dallas Lifespan Brain Study

The Dallas Lifespan Brain Study is a large-scale longitudinal research project designed to characterize neural and cognitive aging across the entire adult lifespan from age 20 to 90. Read more


The Synapse Project

The Synapse Project is designed to test the hypothesis that leading an engaged lifestyle is facilitative of brain health and may slow down the process of normal cognitive aging. Read more


Aging, Culture, and Cognition

This research program examines cultural differences in cognitive and neural aging. Specifically, how immersing in a cultural context could sculpt both structural and functional circuit of the brain. Read more


Choice and Preference Across Lifespan

This research program investigates how various factors influence people’s preferences and choices. Read more